That New Shoe Smell

Give your winter footwear a reboot

Words: Melly Neil | Photographs: Rudi Geyser | Art Direction: Charl Edwards | Styling: Akim Jardine

Ankles that look as if they’ve been turned on a lathe, a swaying of the hips that could hypnotise a Hasselblad, posture straight out of finishing school and legs for days… Some of this has to do with what you were born with, but if you didn’t win the genetic lottery at birth then you’ll be glad to know that you can get the look in the right pair of shoes.  

Shoes can make us feel tall, powerful and sexy, but why should it ever be at the expense of comfort? It’s like Cybill Shepard says, “My sexuality and pleasure never had to do with my feet hurting.”

And let's be honest, in the name of sex appeal we’ve put our little piggies through some horrors. Which is why for this story we’ve focused on comfort and style. To show off Superbalist’s selection of winter footwear, we enlisted a pair of young fashion mavens to shop the site and style their picks with looks that they built from the feet up.

Abongwe Qokela is a polymath who considers herself an artist, urban hippie, traveler and emotional dresser. Her blog, Disco Stray Jacket, is an online canvas that allows a peek into her quirky style.

Raya Rossi is no stranger to TWoU, and has played dress up for Superbalist on several occasions. The 26-year-old creative director at A Fashion Friend started interning there while still studying at Fedisa and then never left. She blogs as The Visual Journal in her personal capacity.

Put yourself in our girls’ shoes and dip a toe into the five must-have silhouettes for winter 2016.

Chunky heel boot

The bootie trend is the best way to keep an outfit from looking too frou-frou. The chunky heel adds serious ass-kicking attitude to your more feminine ensembles, and is a 70s throwback that has walked off of the runways and into our lives. The clincher? These are the most comfortable boots you could ever hope to slip into.

Raya: This is a safari look, just a bit more western jungle, like you’ve been trekking and have now hit the Congo. These are elasticated so you can slip them on and off easily for practical comfort. I think the chunky look is great, I’m not into dainty footwear, and the daintiest shoes I own is a pair of strappy Greek sandals.

Abongwe: Girls night out! These are very luxurious. I have quite a quirky style, and like trying to make a statement. Chunky shoes are everything to me – especially because you can actually walk in them.

Metallic Sneaker

No matter how cloudy, the metallic sneaker is a shiny shoe trend that’s sure to add a silver lining to the darkest days and coldest nights. Metallic shoes are a street style staple and range from silver and gold to iridescent sneakers in flashy and fun finishes. The sparkle treatment will add pizazz to any self-respecting magpie’s closet. Shine on you crazy diamond.

Raya: Ooh glitter shoes! These are fun and very Studio 54. I wore them with an athleisure, sports luxe look. That’s ripped jeans, a cosy knit and a big jacket. Very tonal and moody. Kinda like how I feel on Mondays. Here I’m rocking bare ankles using the 7/8th trick – that’s where there’s bare ankle where you’d usually do a roll. 

Abongwe: There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home… I love it! These are everything. My style is usually pretty plain where I always try and add that one thing, and these gold sneakers are that one thing. I wore them with a plain black dress and a blazer, and when I put the shoes on it gave the look a lot more drama. You’ll definitely get attention. I like that. And the colour makes the sneaker more suitable for a night look.

Thigh High Boots

Knee high boots are cute, but if you want to take things to the next level then don’t stop until they're thigh high. Be sure to wear your over-the-knee boots with a skin-flashing skirt in a contrasting texture. Suede and corduroy is a hot look, as is denim and leather. And, sure, the thigh high boot seems to have been invented for runway model pins, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a statement because they really can work for anyone.

Raya: Usually not something that I’d recommend for someone my height, and that’s because you have to be wearing something super short to see the skin, otherwise it looks like you’re wearing a boot up to your knickers. Dior did it and it's a vibe, but I think for that you need longer legs. Like if you’re Gigi Hadid, off you go, have all the fun! Still, these were really nice and I felt safe in them. Locked in. And because they’re suede and a bit chunkier they’re not so risqué, they’re more fashion.

Abongwe: Pretty Women! We’re going to the club again and can actually dance in these because they don't have super thin heels. There’s just enough skin between the skirt and the shoe and the fact that there’s no stocking gives it a bit of a tease factor.

Lace-up Boot

Sturdy and slip-proof, the utility boot has always been part of the uniform worn by construction workers, the armed forces and the blue-collar workers who only wore suits to weddings and funerals. Ever since the hip-hop world appropriated them in the 90s there have been numerous takes on the classic worker boot, and we love how there now are feminine silhouettes that walk all over the boys.

Raya: This is my Dora the Explorer look. It’s very tonal. I love a good safari. If I went to a festival I’d probably wear this outfit. I love the billowing sleeves, the hat, the little two piece… I’m quite feminine and these boots are all about the eclectic mix. I feel really grounded in a lace-up boot. Like gravity has got you for the day.

Abongwe: This is my Saturday outfit. There’s style and thought behind it, but it’s not overly put together. Because my Saturdays are spent running around and doing so many different things I need to be comfortable. These are actually pretty light, so that works. I love them.

Winter Heel

To stand up to the season you need a shoe that gets the job done, which doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be spending your entire winter in Hunter Boots. Withstand the wintriest of weather and look good doing it in our huge selection of winter heels that will dress up any outfit.

Raya: Love this chunky and dark platform suede heel that I wore with a sock underneath. Miu Miu started the trend a few years back, and most people would’ve done a lacier sock, but I felt that the tie-dyed style added a pop of shock. I think it’s a good idea to reign things in and put a sock on it, otherwise you’re looking at, what, fat white toes? The big straps are really fun, very 70s, and I love a good hat. The camel coat I love, and is an amazing basic for everybody’s wardrobe.

Abongwe: The winter heel I chose has slight coverage and is a lot chunkier than a summer heel. I wore opaque tights underneath, which didn’t look weird, and you can’t have your toes peeking out in winter. This is also such a cute little tweed skirt and polo neck combo.